Friday 20 January 2012

Was TV Better Before Multi-Channel Programming?

As I idly flicked through the channels on my Sky TV last night, I realised that I spend most TV watching time doing exactly that.

Flicking through 60 channels trying to find something, anything, to watch.

You would think with the amount of televisual delights spread over multiple channels on offer for our delectation, we'd find it easy to find something to watch, but night after night (as that's practically the only time I watch TV these days) I give up and pick up a book instead.

What also baffles me is that when I do find something to watch, it's generally something from before I was born. I've become quite the fan of The Professionals, On the Buses, Terry and June and Upstairs Downstairs of late.

Which has led me to question- if we have all these channels with rubbish telly, except the old stuff of the 70s and early 80s, has multi-channel television ruined TV forever?

It seems that whatever time of day or day of the week you switch on the TV, on whatever channel you try, its the same old, tired and over used format rehashed and re-served for our collective boredom.

Home shows annoy me the most. I may be the only one, but I don't wish to watch some smug person showing off how much cash they have to splash on a house (especially when the probability of me ever owning my own home is slim to none). Surely someone with a pocket full of cash is quite capable of finding their own home without the aid of television cameras? There are so many variations on the same theme, with Channel 4 (who have shed loads of programmes already devoted to buying or doing up your home) starting a new one on Monday. The only difference is the smug person looking for the house doesn't choose where they get to look for said property, they're taken to places with no idea as to the location. Very nice, but in my view, you could be shown a lovely house, but if its in the middle of a rotten neighbourhood with crap schools, you're not going to buy it.

Then there are the antique shows. Pitched at bored pensioners or hungover students, if I see one more piece of Staffordshire, Clarice Cliff or Crown Derby I will puke. I don't want to watch people selling family heirlooms to pay for a week in Spain. I have seen enough of these programmes to know that, the first item they value will sell for about the same amount as it was valued at. The second piece (which the greedy beggar selling it will have plonked a massively OTT reserve on) won't sell at all (and yes, I do secretly cackle at this). The third piece will then have been valued at £50 and will then-shockingly-sell for at least 5 times that amount. (Don't believe me- watch Flog It! on BBC 2. Same thing has happened since it started).

Chesney Hawkes: Not a celebrity since  1991
Then there are "I used to be famous but now when I try and get into a club they tell me to get to the back with the other ex-Big Brother contestants and desperado's" shows. I will refuse to watch any programme with "Celebrity" stuck on the title. When they say celebrity, I expect someone who hasn't been in Heat Magazine's Crap Spot in the last two years. Take this year's Dancing on Ice (yes, no celeb in that title but you just know it'll be tat). Chesney Hawkes had one song go in the Top 10 when I was at Primary School. I left school 14 years ago. And the smiley one from Sugababes (version 4.0)? They haven't had a song chart since, will since version 3.0 were around. The Sugababes are a joke. Chico (Chesney's replacement). I don't need to say it do I? These are NOT celebrities. Has beens, maybe. Celebrities, not so much. The lot they take into the jungle most years should be left there (before you argue, I give you Katona, Andre and Price. I rest my case).

TV now is spread so thin between so many pointless, unnecessary channels that clearly, the quality is just not there anymore.

Doyle (L) he always got the girl. We just didn't see him get the girl
Yet old shows like the ones I mentioned may be quaint, with comedy which doesn't need to be crass or downright smutty, and car chases that feature conveniently left in the middle of the road cardboard boxes, but they are cool. They are slick. In The Professionals, Doyle always got the girl, but you never actually had to see his naked backside on the screen. You just knew he was a dog and men and women alike loved him for it. 

On The Buses is hilarious. Again, its obvious they fancy all the girls in it (bar Olive) but its just done in a funny way, not a smutty way. It shows what life was like for many low paid manual workers, stuck living in the same house they grew up in, along with their sister and her husband and your Mum. People muddled through, so it's shown that way. There is no swearing, there doesn't have to be.

As for Upstairs Downstairs (which Elder hates. Oh well) it just is so beautifully done with costumes and speech which was properly researched. Downton Abbey isn't a patch on it, and I constantly see historians batter it's inaccuracies.

It says it all that one of my favourite TV programmes of modern times is Life on Mars, a show which borrowed from the old school cop shows of yesteryear. 

The other annoyance is, with all these channels, when you get used to a show (Like Glee. American shows seem to be doing OK for quality thus far), it then gets poached, usually by a channel I don't have. Argh! That didn't happen when we had 4 channels. If something on BBC 1 moved to ITV, I just switched over to ITV. Job done.

Life just isn't portrayed as it really is for my generation. It's a long standing joke that, despite everyone being pretty skint in EastEnders, no one owns a washing machine, they all use the laundrette. They all eat breakfast in the cafe, and lunch in the Vic. No one goes to a bargain booze for alcohol, they all go to the pub, sometimes twice a day. It doesn't happen!

Maybe we need to ditch the multiple channels of crap, and go back to four channels of quality, realistic programming and funny, not smut and swear word fuelled comedy, TV.

What do you think- modern or old school, which shows do you class as must see?

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to give you a personal invitation to the new Britmums group about blogs and good causes


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